Reason to be (emotionally) proud

Last night was quite emotional—not just for me, but for many Indonesians. Just a few minutes short of midnight, 17 August 2016, a day celebrated for Indonesia’s 71st Independence Day, its mixed doubles badminton pair Ahmad/Natsir won a gold medal for the country at the Summer Olympics 2016.  It continued an almost continuous run of gold medal from badminton for Indonesia since the first time the sport was competed in Summer Olympics 24 years ago—minus four years ago, in which Indonesia did not get any.

It was a moment of joy, with an underlying message: For a country priding itself in the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), you cannot find any better example than this pair. All the dichotomies are here: sex-wise, religion-wise, ethnicity-wise, they were very different—united by one sport, one cause, and one country.

When that Indonesia Raya (the national anthem) was played and sung after the gold medal awarding, you can understand all the tears shed during that 2-minute music. They were truly shed for a country many of us are proud to call home, and to the Red and White for which it stands.

By the way, congratulations to Ahmad/Natsir. Another reason to be proud.

And Happy Independence Day, Indonesia. Merdeka! 

(Photo was taken from Rappler)

The most hostile place to watch badminton is…

In the last ten years, the world of international badminton is dominated by one country—not seen thirty years ago: China. With 1.5 billion people, it is safe to say that China can easily pick one kid from every village from his or her earliest age and it will be able to supply the world with tens of thousands of badminton players for years to come.

It is strange, therefore, to watch one of the world’s most prestigious badminton championship—rather, two, actually—Thomas and Uber Cups. Apart from the fact that China was eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the Thomas Cup, the venue was relatively deserted, almost silent. Some jiayou may be heard occasionally, but nothing more.  Continue reading The most hostile place to watch badminton is…